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Business leaders want continuity with EU regulations post-Brexit, survey claims

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UK business leaders would prefer to stick with EU rules on goods and services in order to preserve their current trading relationships. 

In a survey of more than 900 members of the Institute of Directors, 51pc of businesses wanted to keep the current levels of access to the single market, in order to maintain continuity with their current business plans. However, nearly a quarter would prefer to change regulations after leaving the EU even if it made trade between the UK and the single market more difficult.

Most businesses felt unable to plan ahead in order to adapt their business models or supply chains ahead of quitting the EU. With 46pc of businesses held back from determining their new strategies, the IoD’s report claimed that “there remain worrying questions over how prepared a sizeable chunk of firms will be to absorb new arrangements when they come into force”.

Fewer than 10pc of companies had already implemented a contingency plan based on the decision to leave the EU, and around a third had no intention of planning for Brexit at all.

The research also found that the depreciation of sterling had resulted in an increase in exporting activity for a minority of firms, with 17pc reporting a rise in exports. But nearly three quarters had yet to experience any notable increase in their exporting activity. 

The status of EU nationals was the primary concern for IoD members when asked about Brexit negotiations. Nearly half, 40pc, employ EU nationals, and 50pc believed the rights and entitlements of EU citizens working in the UK should be settled before any other issues in a Brexit deal.

Allie Renison, head of EU and trade policy at the Institute of Directors, said: “Businesses urgently want the UK and the EU to announce they’ve reached an agreement on citizens’ rights, which has been close but just out of reach during the previous rounds of talks. A quick agreement on a transition deal is also a high priority, preventing companies from having to take premature decisions on relocating operations.”



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